Falcons top Panthers in OT
Of all the players on the St. Catharines Falcons, Adam Pys might be the last one who would be counted on to score an overtime goal.
The rugged rearguard earns his keep as a stay-at-home defenceman who rarely ventures into the offensive zone.
But Friday, Pys shocked everyone when he scored a short-handed, overtime goal to give the Falcons a 4-3 win over the Pelham Panthers in a Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference game at Jack Gatecliff Arena.
Pys’ goal came after he pounced on a bouncing puck near the blueline and took off on a breakaway where he saw Pelham goaltender Nicholas Kidd charging toward him. Pys easily beat Kidd to the puck and quickly fired it into the empty cage.
“I was just in the moment,” Pys said. “You take a chance. It was overtime and we were going to be shorthanded for pretty much the rest of overtime so you have to score somehow.”
Pys admitted he couldn’t believe Kidd, who had a strong game otherwise, made the choice to leave the net.
“I was wondering what the hell he was doing,” Pys said.
Falcons coach/general manager Frank Girhiny also couldn’t believe his eyes when asked about the play.
“I saw the play develop,” Girhiny said. “I don’t know what their goalie was doing. It was a faux pas but we capitalized and we’ll take the two points.”
Pelham coach Mark Barrick realized that play was the turning point, but also well aware it shouldn’t define an otherwise solid effort by his club.
“It was the difference in the game, but not even close to being the difference in the game,” he said. “It was one play, a couple of mistakes, and stuff happens. It’s just part of the game.”
The Panthers served notice they could be a dangerous team come the post season with a solid, inspired effort.
“When it’s all said and done, you know that team is going to come and play hard and that’s what we need,” Girhiny said. “They play hard and the coach is from St. Catharines and a former Falcon. Every team wants to play hard and they have some good players who work.”
Girhiny would like to see his club turn it up a notch with the regular season winding down.
“All in all I thought our game was just OK. If we match their intensity with our skill level, we’re going to be just fine.”
Each team scored once in the opening period. Xavier Drummond gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead when he tapped in a perfect pass from Christian Girhiny for his 11th of the season. The Panthers responded with a power-play marker from Wyatt Thole while the Falcons were down a pair.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead with an early goal in the second credited to Noah Caperchione before the Falcons tied it at 2-2 on a power-play marker from Mike Masotti.
Thomas Young gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead less than a minute into the third and made that lead hold up until Kyle West scored on a power play after Pelham’s Dylan Biggar was ejected with 6:33 to play following a hit on Christian Girhiny. Girhiny left the ice and did not return. He was reported to have a sore neck.
Barrick would have loved to see his club come out with the extra point.
“We played a smart, patient hockey game and that’s what you have to do against that hockey club,” he said. “We came out with one, which is good on the road, but I thought we probably should have come out with two.”
Falcon facts: Dawson McKinney and Joe Colasurdo did not dress for the Falcons . . .Liam Sodtke, Michael Marchesov and Denis Denisov were scratched for the Panthers . . . Falcons president Jim McConnell celebrates birthday No. 61 Monday.
Falcons 4 Panthers 3 OT
BPSN Star of the Game: Falcons defenceman Adam Pys for a short-handed, overtime goal.
St. Catharines Falcons: Pys (5); Kyle West (17); Xavier Drummond (11); Mike Masotti (6).
Pelham Panthers: Thomas Young (16); Owen Caperchione (16); Wyatt Thole (7).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Nicholas Kidd (40), by Pelham on Jack McGovern (27); Power plays: St. Catharines 2-for-6, Pelham 1-for-6; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 16, Pelham 25
Up next: The Falcons are at Fort Erie Saturday and Hamilton Monday. The Panthers host Thorold Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Canucks 13 Regals 1
Matthew Riva had four goals and Mitch Mendonca three as the Niagara Falls Canucks defeated the visiting Lockport Regals Friday at the Gale Centre.
Justin Kyle added two while singles came off the sticks of Andrew Bruno, Nicholas Prestia, Ryan Smith and Brandon Bastasian.
Erich Thur replied for the Regals.
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